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Ball of Fire


Dir. Howard Hawks. 1942, 111 mins. 35mm print from UCLA Film & TV Archive. With Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck. A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, begin working on a slang dictionary, and wind up helping a beautiful nightclub singer, “Sugarpuss” O’ Shea (Stanwyck), avoid police and escape from the Mob. Ball of Fire is a hilarious expression of a favorite Hawks theme: the war between man’s intellectual and primal sides.

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